inconsistency in quality services,
adherence to safety standards,
and finding professionals with
requisite skill sets, as well as issues
in the supply chain. The exhibition
industry was not recognised as a
well-established industry. Success
was, nevertheless, achieved by a few
passionate organisers in select sectors
through hard work.
There has been significant
progress over the last 10 years with
the addition of new venues and
infrastructure. We have come a
long way, the supply chain is robust,
exhibitors are more aware of green
aspects and are using eco-friendly
materials in construction of stalls,
safety standards have improved and
information technology is playing a
big role. As a result we are seeing well
organised B2B as well as B2C events.
Exhibitions are becoming more
vibrant enablers of economy.
Today there is also an increasing
level of collaboration between all
stakeholders, while digitalisation and
technology such as VR and AR are
also playing a major enabling role in
What are some of the specifics of
the Indian exhibition market?
The Indian exhibition industry
accounts for 745 national and regional
events, resulting in gross area
demand of 7.3m sqm and net area of
3.4m sqm. We should soon be moving
towards gross area of 8m sqm.
While the north and west
traditionally attracted more shows,
the past decade has seen southern
India emerge as an equally important
region for exhibitions. Domestic
w w w.exhibitionworld.co.uk
organisers dominate with around 385
events in a year, accounting for 31%
of the total gross area rented. Not-for-
profit organisers, including industry
associations, government institutions
and trade bodies, combined, account
for the highest share (42%) in total
gross area demand.
The exhibition industry here is
still evolving and in many sectors is
fragmented. While there are about
15 industry segments where you
see international scale and quality
of participation, in others industry
is still at various growth stages of
the ‘S’ curve. Indian GDP is US$3
trillion and its exhibition industry is
around US$3.5bn, a much smaller
percentage of GDP compared to what
we see in Europe, the US and other
developed markets. This shows the
potential of India and, while India is a
price-sensitive market, success lies in
bringing high value shows in a cost-
It can be a challenge to break even
for small shows and it is important
they move quickly to the midsize
segment by building customer
confidence and leveraging technology.
There is immense scope for creating
bigger B2B and B2C events.
Organisers also need to educate
exhibitors and visitors and engage
them well before the event so that
they get the best value at the show.
What are your ambitions for your
It is a big honour and responsibility.
As the President of UFI I will continue
to work towards the exhibition
industry finding wider recognition
and global acceptance.
How do you
relax in your
not at work?
I spend as
much time as
When I find
time I read,
I will focus on global collaborations
and taking UFI’s research and
education programmes to the
next level. This gives me immense
opportunities to learn more and
contribute to the industry. When the
world is facing economic challenges
as well as global disruptions created
by Covid-19, it is important for UFI
to keep confidence levels high and
spearhead policy advocacy in a
focused manner with all stakeholders.
What advice would you have for
someone considering entering the
tradefair business today?
a. There is a need for networking
events. It is very important for the
exhibition industry as a whole and
the professionals working within
it to network and monitor events.
Exhibitions of scale give opportunities
for exploring new ideas, establishing
partnerships and building a personal
b. Select the right mentor. Long-term
mentoring relationships with your
senior or a ‘guru’ will give you rich
dividends as you learn the ins and
outs of the trade.
c. Be open to feedback. This is very
important and gives you an overall
picture of where you stand. One needs
to pay attention to strengths and
weaknesses and work on them.
d. Attend as many exhibitions and
events as possible.
e. Long-term focus. Conducting
exhibitions can be challenging but
rewarding as well. It is necessary
to cement relationships that you
establish initially. Have a long-term
focus in creating sustainable shows
Issue 2 2020